Whereas 2020 was, for essentially the most half, the 12 months that wasn’t by way of conventional reveals and occasions, most folk on all sides of the leisure trade appear prepared to try to get again to some stage of normalcy in 2021. Northeastern Pennsylvania was lucky final 12 months to nonetheless get dwell, in-person live shows at venues just like the Mohegan Solar Enviornment in Wilkes-Barre, together with parking zone performances from Philadelphia Freedom, Almost Queen, and three consecutive nights with recent Grammy winner Billy Strings.
Lucky music followers right here additionally loved a full fall lineup of reveals on the Circle Drive-In in Dickson Metropolis, which included Aaron Lewis, Smith & Myers, Skillet, Allman Betts Band, Steel Panther, Blackberry Smoke, and plenty of others due to Stage West, DamnMillennial Promotions, and SLP Concert events.
Only a quick experience in any path from NEPA proved to be a a lot completely different scene for dwell reveals, with most venues deciding to not maintain any occasions because of the restrictions in place from the COVID-19 pandemic.
With vaccinations on the rise and the restrictions being eased a bit by Governor Tom Wolf, well-known venues just like the SteelStacks in Bethlehem are beginning to roll out their spring and summer season lineups, which as not solely a author/photographer, however an enormous fan of music, is such a welcome sight to see!
The Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks (789 E. 1st St., Bethlehem) will start its socially distanced spring outdoor concert series on Thursday, April 15 with Chris Thile of Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek, adopted by Kansas Metropolis blues artist Samantha Fish on Friday, April 16.
For many who haven’t seen Fish dwell but, the Lehigh Valley is in for a deal with. She was featured within the inaugural guitar pull on the 2019 Peach Music Festival in Scranton with a number of the most gifted touring guitarists on the market, together with Scott Sharrard (Gregg Allman Band), Jake Cinninger of Umphrey’s McGee, teenager Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, Dopapod’s Rob Compa, Steve Kimock, and jazz rock virtuoso Stanley Jordan.
Throughout that set, Fish led along with her personal “Chills & Fever” and “No Angels” and, for the grand finale, Sharrard, Brett Bass, and Eric Kalb honored competition founders The Allman Brothers Band with a model of “Southbound” that additionally featured her, Cinninger, Kimock, and Jordan.
Fish is at the moment touring in assist of her newest launch, her sixth solo album “Kill or Be Kind,” which got here out on Sept. 20, 2019 on Rounder Data. It has since been chosen as a “Favourite Blues Album” by AllMusic. This 2021 trek will substitute her canceled 2020 tour and have Fish as a part of a dwell “energy trio” for the primary time in her profession.
As of this writing, tickets are at the moment offered out for her efficiency, however there’s a entire lineup of spring and summer season reveals listed under with descriptions from the venue. It’s solely a bit of over an hour drive from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre space and nicely well worth the journey for these of us who can’t wait any longer to see some dwell music.
SteelStacks spring outside live shows
Genres: Bluegrass, progressive bluegrass, folks, nation, classical, jazz
Date: Thursday, April 15
Time: 7 p.m.
Price: $45-$135 per garden sq. or desk
A number of Grammy Award winner and MacArthur Fellow Chris Thile, a member of Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek and former host of the radio program “Reside from Right here,” is a mandolin virtuoso, composer, and vocalist. Together with his broad outlook, Thile transcends the borders of conventionally circumscribed genres, making a distinctly American canon and a brand new musical aesthetic for performers and audiences alike.
A baby prodigy, Thile first rose to fame as a member of Grammy Award-winning trio Nickel Creek, with whom he launched 4 albums and offered over two million information. In 2014, together with a nationwide tour, the trio launched a brand new album, “A Dotted Line,” their first since 2005.
As a soloist, Thile has launched a number of albums, together with his most up-to-date, “Thanks for Listening,” a set of recordings produced by Thomas Bartlett, initially written as Songs of the Week for “Reside from Right here.” In 2013, he gained a Grammy for his work on “The Goat Rodeo Periods,” collaborating with Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Stuart Duncan. In 2014, Thile and Meyer launched their newest album collaboration, “Bass + Mandolin,” which gained the Grammy for Finest Modern Instrumental Album. Punch Brothers launched their newest album, the Grammy-winning “All Ashore,” in 2018, with Pop Issues describing the album as “a name to savor, to concentrate, to step again from the hustle and bustle and bear in mind the significance of being calm.”
Genres: Blues, roots rock
Date: Friday, April 16
Time: 7 p.m.
Price: Sold out
“That was my mission on this album – to essentially set these songs up in order that they’ve a lifetime of their very own,” Samantha Fish mentioned about “Kill or Be Form,” her sixth solo album and debut on Rounder Data. “Robust messages from the center – that’s what I actually set out for.” Certainly, what comes throughout instantly on listening to the album is the extraordinary stage of songcraft on its 11 tracks, the way in which these songs are so well put collectively to ship a potent emotional affect.
Anybody who has ever heard Fish’s earlier albums is aware of that she has earned a spot within the high rank of up to date blues guitarists and that her voice can wring the soul out of a ballad and belt out a rocker with roof-shaking power. And, relaxation reassured, these virtues are absolutely in proof on “Kill or Be Form.” However every of the songs on the album does excess of merely present a setting for Fish’s pyrotechnics. They inform fascinating tales, arrange by verses that deftly set the scene, choruses that elevate with actual feeling, and hooks that later stand up in your ideas, even once you’re not conscious that you simply’re considering of music in any respect. It’s the type of songwriting that emerges when uncooked expertise is leavened by expertise and aspiration, and when a dedicated artist genuinely has one thing to say. These qualities make “Kill or Be Form” a real inventive breakthrough for Fish.
The Poets for Justice Poetry Slam
Date: Saturday, April 17
Time: 4 p.m.
The Poets for Justice Poetry Slam is a free, family-friendly occasion that can function spoken phrase artists and vocalists from everywhere in the area to fire up hope and inspiration within the ongoing battle for justice and racial equality.
Hosted/directed by Zena Goodwin, offered in partnership with ArtsQuest, and sponsored by the Buddies of the Lehigh College Libraries, the Poets for Justice Poetry Slam will happen on the Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks, the place all CDC and state/native well being pointers are being strictly noticed. Patrons should register for his or her free ticket utilizing the ticketing hyperlink here; every ticket will get the holder entry to 1 socially distanced garden sq. that may match as much as 4 folks. Patrons are chargeable for bringing their very own chairs and/or blankets.
The occasion may also be simulcast by way of a dwell stream that patrons can register for here. Reside stream patrons can be despatched a Zoom hyperlink within the half-hour previous to the occasion’s begin and also will be capable to take part within the post-show Q&A.
Performers embody Nasheera Brown, Chloe Cole-Wilson, Ehfar, Kari Holmes, Connie Lee-Blackshear, Juanita Renay, Corey Riotz, and Zamarrie Rose, with music from Devin L. Grey, Juanita-Renay Grey, and Cyrus Thompson.
Go Go Gadjet
Genres: Occasion and dance music
Date: Friday, April 23
Time: 7 p.m.
Price: $40-$80 per garden sq. or desk
Mixing the rhythms of dance music with acquainted melodies from the previous and current, Go Go Gadjet straddles the road between band and DJ like few others. Their progressive mixture of conventional devices with fashionable synths and controllers has allowed them to craft a sound and presentation that’s uniquely their very own. A decade on the street has molded this Studying, Pennsylvania-based group into an leisure machine. They’re trendsetters of their trade, and their present is the definition of “epic.”
Regularly reinventing their stage design, Go Go Gadjet’s visible show rivals that of a nationally touring act. The band believes that imagery and music go hand in hand. With cautious thought and planning, they work to create fascinating visuals that complement and improve the dwell expertise. Their purpose is to supply audiences with an audio/visible escape.
In 2017, Go Go Gadjet partnered with Coors Mild to advertise their debut single “Make You Really feel Good.” The Coors Mild #ClimbOn marketing campaign featured up-and-coming artists who’ve overcome challenges and obstacles in pursuit of their ardour. This partnership has helped push the band’s Spotify streaming totals to nicely over 200,000.
Boat Home Row
Style: Yacht rock
Date: Saturday, April 24
Time: 7 p.m.
Price: $10-$80 per desk or garden sq.
Boat Home Row is a yacht rock expertise. Within the musical sense, yacht rock refers back to the extremely polished model of soppy rock that emanated from Southern California between 1976 and 1984. The time period is supposed to counsel the type of clean, mellow music that early yuppies possible loved whereas sipping champagne on their yachts.
Important “yacht rockers” embody Corridor & Oates, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Christopher Cross, Steely Dan, Toto, and plenty of extra.
Boat Home Row is Caniche Derstine (guitars, vocals), Riley Hamlin (drums, vocals), Mick Hillside (bass, vocals), Pete Mane (tenor/alto saxophones, clarinet, flute, vocals), Kenny Trout (vocals, piano), and Cougar Wessex (guitars, keyboards). Put together to be rocked… gently.
Philadelphia Funk Authority
Genres: Occasion music, pop, high hits
Date: Friday, April 30
Time: 7 p.m.
Price: $10-$40 per desk or garden sq.
Philadelphia Funk Authority was created with one factor in thoughts – to supply audiences with the easiest in high-energy dance and celebration leisure in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and past. Proving again and again the power to ship at events, night time golf equipment, festivals, weddings, live shows, and company occasions, Philly Funk has a repute for making the celebration occur.
The gifted musicians of Philly Funk Authority convey collectively the expertise of actually 1000’s of performances to formulate the last word leisure machine. Really delivering what many bands solely promise, Philly Funk prides itself on with the ability to present the last word celebration and dance expertise, no matter venue.
Damaged Arrow – A Tribute to Neil Younger
Genres: Rock, folks rock, nation rock
Date: Saturday, Could 1
Time: 7 p.m.
Damaged Arrow performs the music of Neil Younger, that includes each the rockin’ electrical Loopy Horse tunes and the extra acoustic, pedal steel-driven nation rock materials. The band delivers these traditional songs faithfully whereas taking them out on some jamming excursions and tastefully tweaking a number of the preparations. Singer Joe Mass nails Younger’s vocals completely, and the harmonies are spot on.
Damaged Arrow is Joe Mass (vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica) Marty Cohl (guitar, metal guitar), Dan Gold (bass, vocals), and Larry Freedman (drums, vocals).
Hassle Metropolis All Stars & The Groove Retailers
Genres: Reggae, dub, psychedelic rock
Date: Friday, Could 7
Time: 7 p.m.
Price: $10-$25 per desk or garden sq.
There’s optimistic vibes solely with back-to-back units with Hassle Metropolis All Stars & The Groove Retailers on Could 7. The band is a five-piece reggae/dub/psychedelic outfit based mostly out of Bethlehem.
The Groove Retailers are right here to throw down and get away. Fueled with howling vocals from frontman Tye Vallone, pushed by Luke Ferracone’s guitar work, and insured via targeted horn sounds and a hustling backbeat from bassist John Evin Groome and Peter Snyder on drums, the band twists in parts of blues, funk, and soul, leading to a revival of genuine efficiency.
Genres: Latin music, merengue
Date: Saturday, Could 8
Time: 7 p.m.
Oro Solido was shaped by Raul Acosta, who has acquired the nickname “El Presidente.” Acosta was born right into a musical household in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. On the age of seven, he and his older brothers Iván and Rafael, along with native neighborhood children, began a pre-adolescent music group known as “Los Sobrinos Del Rey,” a Dominican model of the Jackson 5. With this early expertise, he was in a position to develop his musical expertise in addition to his stage presence. The group went on to carry out in two nationally televised reveals. At 9 years previous, his household relocated to the USA. With no English abilities, he moved to Jersey Metropolis, New Jersey to start out his new life. Years later, he moved to Union Metropolis the place the Hispanic tradition was rising stronger.
In 1994, Acosta shaped the merengue band Oro Sólido. That very same 12 months, he launched the self-titled debut album “Oro Sólido.” He continued to launch albums roughly yearly after that.
With hits like “Ta Cache,” “La Tanguita Roja,” “Maria se Fue,” “El Baile del Beeper,” “Una Nalgadita,” and “La Morena,” amongst others, Oro Sólido positioned itself as one of many greatest Latin music teams on the planet. They’ve surpassed numerous limitations in relation to performing within the Anglo media and having their music performed on English-speaking radio stations. Acosta has been nominated for and gained quite a few awards all through the years, together with Premios Estrella, Premios ACE, and Premios Lo Nuestro.
The group has carried out over 5 occasions in Madison Sq. Backyard in addition to different well-known arenas just like the Common Metropolis Amphitheater in Los Angeles, Zócalo Public Sq. in Mexico Metropolis, Estadio Modelo in Ecuador, El Monumento in Dominican Republic, and the New Jersey Meadowlands. They’ve shared phases with artists comparable to 50 Cent, LeAnn Rimes, Celia Cruz, Marc Anthony, Fats Joe, Johnny Ventura, Wilfrido Vargas, Tito Puente, El Gran Combo, and The Temptations.
Sensational Soul Cruisers
Genres: Motown, soul, R&B, disco
Date: Friday, Could 14
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Sensational Soul Cruisers will not be simply one other 11-man vocal concord group with horns. Whereas it’s nonetheless typically attainable to discover a band that includes an identical line up of devices, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever discover one other that performs with as a lot vitality, ardour, and expertise as these guys. From their humble beginnings rehearsing on the rooster coops on Route 33 to the basement of the Cycle Store on Throckmorton Road, this band has come a great distance from its “Eddie and the Cruisers” days to grow to be one among Jersey’s greatest stored secrets and techniques.
Below the tutelage of legendary Jersey Shore sax participant Screamin’ Steve Barlotta, who has been the captain of this incredible soul cruise for over 20 years, has catapulted this band from the recesses of a dingy basement to over 200 performances a 12 months whereas capturing the true essence of the Jersey Shore sound and its true R&B roots, attracting followers of the sound of traditional Philly Ssul, Motown, disco, Stax, and the music of The Temptations, 4 Tops, Earth Wind & Hearth, Chicago, The Trammps, and different such teams that made a number of the greatest music ever recorded or performed dwell.
Over the previous 25 years, the Soul Cruisers have been lucky sufficient to grace the stage with many nice artists like Bruce Springsteen, Little Anthony and The Imperials, Gloria Gaynor, Gary U.S. Bonds, John Cafferty, Southside Johnny, The Feelings, Bon Jovi, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Surprise in addition to being the longtime favourite home band at New York Metropolis’s famed Copacabana.
Tommy Emmanuel, CGP
Genres: Jazz, pop, singer/songwriter
Date: Thursday, Could 20
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Price: $40-$200 per garden sq. or desk
“Songs are our lecturers. They present us the depth of the human race and its unrelenting need to create,” Tommy Emmanuel mentioned. Anytime you speak to any of his followers, whether or not musicians or civilians, invariably they may communicate of not one however two qualities that outline his greatness.
The primary, predictably, is his extraordinary guitar taking part in. Thought-about by these within the know to be amongst this planet’s biggest guitarists, his taking part in is solely miraculous, as it will take three musicians or extra to do what Emmanuel does solo. Who else, for instance, when taking part in “Day Tripper,” can lay down the rhythm half, dig into the riff, and sing the melody all of sudden on only one acoustic guitar?
Which brings us to the opposite side of his music all the time talked about, and with out which the primary may not be as highly effective or as infectiously interesting – the enjoyment. As a result of it’s one factor to play these multi-dimensional preparations flawlessly on an acoustic guitar, however to do it with that smile of the ages, that proof of genuine, unbridled delight, is an irresistible invitation to really feel his music as deeply as he does.
“The enjoyment, he mentioned, “is there all the time as a result of I’m chasing it via music. Seeing the shock in peoples’ eyes is value dwelling and dealing for. … I can’t assist however play to the folks with all my coronary heart, which is overflowing with pleasure of being in that second that I’ve labored all my life for. And right here it’s!”
Date: Wednesday, June 16
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Price: $15-$60 per desk or garden sq.
That includes former members of the hit Broadway musical “Beatlemania,” Strawberry Fields takes audiences on a Magical Thriller Tour via the Nineteen Sixties, starting with the 12 months 1964 – full with mop high hair, black fits, and skinny ties – and thru the primary 4 albums of nice songs. The following cease is 1967, that includes the psychedelic period of the “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Membership Band,” with all the costumes and jackets featured on the album cowl and singing all of the groovy favorites. The final musical go to is to a spot the place their hair received longer and their songs have been extra politically concerned, that includes music from the “White Album,” “Abbey Highway,” and “Let It Be.”
That is the SONGS4SIGHT 2021 present benefiting the Heart for Imaginative and prescient Loss, the one group devoted to the visible well-being and associated high quality of lifetime of everybody in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh, Northampton, and Monroe counties. Its tenet is that imaginative and prescient loss ought to by no means be a barrier to achievement, independence, dignity, and hope.
The Lone Bellow
Genres: Americana, alt nation, indie folks
Date: Friday, June 18
Time: 7:30 p.m.
“I would like it to convey consolation,” The Lone Bellow guitarist Brian Elmquist mentioned. “But it surely’s not all laborious conversations. There’s plenty of mild and a few dancing that should occur.” He’s reflecting on “Half Moon Mild,” the band’s newest album launched on Feb. 7, 2020.
“Half Moon Mild” is a creative triumph labored towards for years, earned not by particular person posturing, however by collective dedication and pure development. With earthy three-part harmonies and songwriting as provocative as it’s trustworthy, the trio made up of Elmquist, lead vocalist Zach Williams, and multi-instrumentalist Kanene Donehey Pipkin creates sparks that make a stranger’s life matter or convey our sense of childlike marvel roaring again.
On this document, The Lone Bellow combine mild and darkish to muster a fancy ode to reminiscence, a name for hope, and an train in empathy. Anchored within the acoustic storytelling that first so endeared the band to followers and critics, “Half Moon Mild” additionally takes extra possibilities, experimenting with textures and instrumental fillips to create a full-bodied music expertise. The result’s their most refined work to this point.
The tales behind the songs matter, however they aren’t what issues most. Ultimately, The Lone Bellow’s music wants no clarification. Simply listening provides a salve and a shelter.
“In my very own excellent little world, I might be capable to put the music out and never discuss it – simply, ‘Right here. Bye. See you subsequent time,’” Williams mentioned, laughing softly. “I do hope somebody will discover this music in a peaceable second, after they can flip it on and get misplaced within the story and the sound.”
See NEPA Scene’s images of Samantha Fish performing on the Peach Music Pageant at The Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton in 2019 here.